App gap. if you are a Windows Phone user, then it sounds all too familiar. The lack of apps on the Windows Phone platform has been a big issue, one that many have concluded is single-handedly preventing the platform from competing with Android and iOS.
Microsoft has a few strategies/tools/projects on the table to combat this issue.
1. Project Islandwood is a tool that would allow developers to easily port their iOS apps to the Windows platform.
2. Project Astoria was a tool that would allow Android devs easily port their Android apps to the Windows platform as well.
But just a couple of days ago, Microsoft officially confirmed that the Project Astoria tool has been terminated/decommissioned, though we knew this since Dec. last year. But the Project Islandwood is still going on strong, as Microsoft continues to improve on it, releasing updates to it regularly. SO it is not all bad news.
Even better news is that Microsoft announced the acquisition of Xamarin, a popular app development tool that allows developers to use one code to develop for both iOS and Android. The acquisition is said to be worth $400M and well worth it. Quite frankly, it is an acquisition they should have made a long time ago.
Now that Microsoft owns Xamarin, they can leverage the talents over there to improve on making it easier to port iOS and Android apps to Windows Phone.
There are a whole lot more advantages to this acquisition (developer-wise), for instance, the Xamarin tool was expensive to use, but with the acquisition, Microsoft could make it a free tool to devs. the benefits are endless.
We expect more news on what's coming next at the forthcoming annual Microsoft Build 2016. But for now you can read about the acquisition on Microsoft's Blog
If you already use Xamarin, you can check out what they had to say about the acquisition on Xamarin Blog